Edward KovacsWard Kovacs is a Lieutenant with the Ocean City Beach Patrol in Ocean City, Maryland where he has worked as an ocean lifeguard since 1983. Some of his chief interests during this time have been working on techniques for the care and treatment of patients who have suffered spinal injuries in the surf, supervising the Junior Beach Patrol program, and developing a rescue watercraft program. The area that has seen the most changes over the years has been in the watercraft program. In 1980 the Beach Patrol acquired its first motorized vessels. The town purchased four Zodiac Mark IV Grand Raid inflatable boats, and four 25 horsepower Evinrude outboards. The boats were not put to any regular use, as few guards knew how to operate them. Ward was one of those who enjoyed driving the boats in the surf, and spent hundreds of hours launching, beaching, and riding waves with the boats. Within a few years, Ward designed a three-day training school for lifeguards who were interested in operating the rescue craft. In the early days, the school was largely based on knowledge he gained through his own experiences; both good and bad. With the advent of jet-powered craft in the early 1990’s, the Beach Patrol began to use two rigid hulled Zodiac jet boats that were powered by Yamaha motors. They later moved toward using personal watercraft along with rescue sleds that attach to rear of the vessels. Each advancement in technology has required Ward to make changes in the way rescue craft are deployed and used. The Beach Patrol now uses four Kawasaki 1200 cc Jetskis with rescue sleds. Lt. Kovacs continues to oversee the purchasing and deployment of watercraft, and the training of lifeguards who use them.
Hi, I am Mort Kovacs, I am the Rescue Boat Instructor for the Ocean City Maryland Beach Patrol. In this segment of our video on personal watercraft I am just going to demonstrate quickly one of the most important things to remember about personal watercraft. Unlike other boats, there is no neutral, there is no idle. When I hit the start button and the motor starts up, the boat is going to be moving forward. Its especially important to remember when you are operating around the dock like I am here, if there are people in the water around where the boat is. Two areas of concern in a personal watercraft you have to really be careful of, one is the intake, where the water comes into the bottom of the watercraft, then it will go through an area called the impeller which will thrust the water out the back of the jet ski and form a water plume out at the back. You want to keep objects like loose ropes, loose parts of your personal floatation device, even long hair or other clothing, you want to keep them away from the middle or the bottom of the boat, because you dont want them to be sucked up into that intake. It can cause severe injury and it could also do a lot of damage to your personal watercraft. Also, in the back you want to keep objects and people clear of the jet out drive, because once you get on the personal watercraft and you start it off, if you give it gas, thats going to create a lot of pressure in the back of the boat, and its going to push so much water out of that in such a hurry that it could really cause injury to somebody or damage something else. So, I want to make sure that I am clear of the dock. I will start the personal watercraft up, and I am going to give it some gas and let you see what comes out of the back. You have just seen the power of the water that comes out of the back of a personal watercraft. Next, Im going to talk about what to do when your trip is over.